The CME Bitcoin futures contracts will be cash-settled, meaning that you will receive USD on the expiration date if your speculation was successful and you have not sold the derivative before the expiration date. You will not receive Bitcoin – that would be a physical settlement, even though Bitcoin is not a physical asset. This is a crucial difference because it enables traders to trade in Bitcoin futures without having a cryptocurrency wallet. Every transaction is done in USD.Thus, it is easy for mainstream traders to take part in this market.
Futures contracts expire on a designated date, referred to as the “expiration date.” Each Fund typically will invest in “lead month” contracts. Lead month contracts are the monthly contracts with the earliest expiration date. Bitcoin futures contracts listed on the CBOE Futures Exchange (“CFE”) or Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”) will be cash settled on their expiration date unless they are “rolled” prior to expiration. Each Fund generally intends to “roll” its bitcoin futures contracts prior to expiration to the next “nearby” bitcoin futures contract. The “nearby” contracts are those contracts with the next closest expiration date. The Funds will incur the costs (or benefits) of continually rolling into the new lead month contracts.
If, in any taxable year, a Fund were to fail to meet the 90% gross income, diversification or distribution test described above, the Fund could in some cases cure such failure, including by paying a Fund-level tax, paying interest, making additional distributions, or disposing of certain assets. If a Fund were ineligible to or did not cure such a failure for any taxable year, or otherwise failed to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, the Fund would be subject to tax on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gain (if any), would be taxable to shareholders as dividend income. In such a case, distributions from the Fund would not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund may be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions.
A tax-exempt shareholder may also recognize UBTI if a Fund recognizes “excess inclusion income” (as described above) derived from direct or indirect investments in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs if the amount of such income recognized by the Fund exceeds the Fund’s investment company taxable income (after taking into account deductions for dividends paid by the Fund). In addition, special tax consequences apply to charitable remainder trusts (“CRTs”) that invest in RICs that invest directly or indirectly in residual interests in REMICs or equity interests in TMPs. Under legislation enacted in December 2006, a CRT (as defined in section 664 of the Code) that realizes any UBTI for a taxable year must pay an excise tax annually of an amount equal to such UBTI. Under IRS guidance issued in October 2006, a CRT will not recognize UBTI as a result of investing in a Fund that recognizes “excess inclusion income.” Rather, if at any time during any taxable year a CRT (or one of certain other tax-exempt shareholders, such as the United States, a state or political subdivision, or an agency or instrumentality thereof, and certain energy
One traditional attraction of trading futures is the ability to use relatively small amounts of money to potentially achieve outsized returns. In many futures markets the margin, the amount of money that your broker requires up-front before executing the trade can be quite small compared to the ultimate value of the contract. For example, as of 22-Dec-2017, each E-mini S&P 500 contract was worth $134K ($50*S&P 500 index value)—this “list price” of the contract is called its notional value. The CME only requires you to maintain a minimum margin of $4.5K (3.4% of notional) to control this contract (brokers often require additional margin). Margin requirements this low are only possible because the volatility of the S&P 500 is well understood and your margin account balance is adjusted at the end of every trading day to account for the winnings or losses of the day. If your account balance falls below the margin minimum of $4.5K you’ll need to quickly add money to your account or your position will be summarily closed out by your broker. On the plus side, if you’ve predicted the S&P’s direction correctly your profits will be that same as if you completely owned the underlying stocks in the index. A +1% daily move in the S&P500 would yield $1340 in profit even though you only have $4500 invested— a 29% return—this multiplier effect is called leverage.